SPENCER COUNTY — Spencer County Planning Commission Administrator Kay Erwin presented the updated Spencer County Comprehensive Plan to the commissioners during their meeting on Monday, May 2.

Erwin explained the updates were made from the information that was gathered from the first and second open house style meetings that gained public input for the plan.

The commissioners will review the updated plan and give any comments or changes back to the planning commission before their next meeting. After the planning commission reviews the draft, and any comments from the commissioners have been received then the commissioners will vote to approve the draft as the final plan.

The only changes made within the plan are the goals and objectives within the comprehensive plan.

A member of the public, John Stocker asked for clarification on the process for the draft of the comprehensive plan. He also asked when the document would become available to the public.

Commissioner Gries clarified that if the planning committee makes any changes, then they will submit the document back to the commissioners for approval. If the commissioners approve it, then it will be the final document.

After discussion on uploading this draft to the county website, Erwin explained that the reasoning for the open house was to gather input or changes for the current draft of the county comprehensive plan.

Stocker was troubled that the county has not formed a task force for the creation of the comprehensive plan. He applauded the effort that has been made with the open houses, but he stated it was still not a proper statistical sample of the demographics of the county.

Stocker also added that two local organizations Southwest Indiana Citizens for Quality of Life and The Catalyst Group suggest that forming the task force is a good idea. He also referred to the 1.6M that Tell City received for their pier project, and how that project was stated within their plan.

After he had expressed concerns with the public not being able to view the draft before the commissioners approval of the plan, Commissioner Brown offered his copy of the draft for Stoker to review.

Another member of the public, Chuck Botsko also commented on the draft of the county comprehensive plan. He added that he thought the online survey for the first open house was not advertised well enough, and that there was not enough time to find out about it. He also thought there should have been an online participation option for the second open house.

He asked if there was an identifier on the updated draft of the comprehensive plan that shows what was added from the open houses.

Commissioner Gries stated the commissioners have not yet had a chance to review the draft with the compiled information from the open houses.

Stocker stated the public will not be able to comment on the updated draft until is approved by the commissioners as the final plan. Commissioners Brown and Commissioner Seiler added that amendments can be made to the plan after it has been finalized.

The planning administrator will also be uploading the draft to the Spencer County website for the public to view.

Other business:

• The Auditor presented two contracts to the commissioners. The first was from Eck-Mundy Associates for the county IT contract. The commissioners approved the 2022 contract from Eck-Mundy for IT Services.

The second contract the commissioners were presented with was from Advanced Radio. The contract is in regards to maintenance on the paging and communication systems for Spencer County EMA. The commissioners motioned to table the discussion until a spokesperson from EMA could attend a meeting.

Auditor’s report

• The county council has set the budget hearing dates on August 24, 25, and 26. They will be changing how the budget forms are done. The forms are now going to be able to reviewed starting on May 4 by the commissioners.

• Commissioner Brown suggested having the county departments present to the commissioners with their budget forms. Normally, the council will approve the budgets during their hearings, but the commissioners miss out on having a discussion with the departments on their budgets.

• The ARPA agreements have been signed by three of the six recipients. There are three new requests for ARPA money added on to the list.

Commissioner Brown made a motion that dependent on receiving the ARPA funding, that the Highway Departments request of ARPA money for asphalt paving at $1M be approved and moved to the council for their approval.

There was discussion on the motion. Commissioner Gries added she would like to hold a task force meeting for all of the ARPA fund requests rather than to bypass the list of requests, that normally go to the ARPA task force for review. Then, the task force makes recommendations to the commissioners.

Gina Mullen with the Highway Department did clarify that this $1M requested out of the ARPA funds is for next year’s paving projects, so they do have time. But if they do not receive the $1M, they will be short next year.

Commissioner Seiler seconded the motion made by Commissioner Brown to approve the request and move the request to the common council, with Commissioner Gries voting opposed.

Highway Department report

• Dale Kenney, the Highway Superintendent, gave the commissioners a list of the different contractors that will be working on roads throughout the county. The list also showed the prep work that needs to be done on those roads, and a time frame for that work.

• The Highway Department will also start putting bids out for their current road projects.

• Mulled then asked how the county would like to submit the next round of applications for the Community Crossings matching grant. The commissioners decided it would be best to submit one application, instead of three or four separate applications.

• The highway department provided a list of rates from different contractor services. They will also be providing a list of the contracted services that are currently being done on county roads to showcase where the contracted dollars are being spent.